5 THINGS TO KNOW: Why is it important to ID your pet and how can I get a free pet tag?

Apr. 18—American Humane gives information on the importance of having ID for your pets during National Pet ID Week.

1 Why is it important to ID a pet?

Statistics show that one out of three pets become lost at some point in their lifetime, and missing pets rarely find their way home. Approximately 10 million pets are lost or stolen in the United States each year, and more than 6 million animals wind up in the nation's animal shelters. Given that dogs and cats in shelters without ID are much less likely to be reunited with their owners, identification can mean the difference between life and death for your best friend.

2 How should I ID my pet?

Make sure your pet always wears a collar with a current ID tag, rabies tag and city/county license (where applicable). Include a contact name, address and phone number on all ID tags.

3 What about a microchip?

Take the added security precaution of having your pet microchipped. Microchipping provides an additional layer of protection in the event the pet's collar and tag fall off or are removed, and nearly all animal shelters across the country routinely scan every animal upon intake for the presence of a microchip.

If your pet is microchipped, make sure the information associated with the microchip is current.

4 What if I am traveling?

If you are traveling, put a temporary tag on your pet with the contact information of someone who knows how to reach you.

5 Are there any Oklahoma organizations that help with pet ID?

Yes. TagOK will mail one free tag per Oklahoma household. Additional tags are available for a $3 donation. Tags can be requested online by visiting tagok.org.

—Derrick James